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The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) is encouraging Canadian visitors to look beyond the destination's most familiar cities and sights with a new, ;must-visit' list of lesser-known locales.
The JNTO says the list, initially published by the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA), captures and reflects the broad beauty of the Japanese landscape and its diverse tourism offering with a selection of eleven 'model tourism' destinations.
"For many travellers, the 'Golden Route' has become a familiar and iconic way to experience Japan, but it is far from the only way," said Ken Toyoda , Executive Director of JNTO Toronto.
"So many of Japan's most incredible destinations are not yet on the average traveller's radar, and so we saw an opportunity to introduce Canadians to the parts of Japan that are quieter, but no less compelling."
The 'Golden Route' refers to the popular itinerary selected by many first-time visitors to Japan. Traditionally beginning in the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, most variants of the tour follow a path west through Hakone, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima before looping back to the capital.
The JNTO's release of this new list reflects the increasing importance the organization is placing on encouraging greater traffic to non-metropolitan and lesser-visited areas in service of effecting economic revitalization.
The list of eleven destinations includes:
Eastern Hokkaido: Japan's northernmost island boasting a rugged, wintery landscape;
Nasu: The temperate highlands of Tochigi Prefecture, dotted with Jizo statues;
Hokuriku: A seaside region home to Kanazawa, where traditional Japanese culture thrives;
Mount Hachimantai: A mountainous expanse bordering Akita beloved for its autumn colours;
Tottori and Shimane: Two western prefectures home to sword-making, art museums, and UNESCO-recognized silver mines;
Okinawa and Amami: Where dense jungles and mangroves give way to picturesque beaches;
Kagoshima, Unzen, and Aso: Kyushu's wonders, encompassing grassy plateaus, Samurai-style lodgings, and a volcanic caldera;
Southern Nara and Wakayama: Where one can walk ancient pilgrimage routes and stay in a deep-forest temple;
Ise-Shima: Home to the country's most sacred shrine, luxurious hotels and the famous female free-divers known as Ama;
Matsumoto and Takayama: A duo of alpine towns boasting Edo-period architecture and feudal castles;
Setouchi: A coastal region covered in bridges, offering historic port cities and magnificent views of an inland sea.
"We see the release of this list as just the latest step in what will continue to be a top priority for the JNTO in 2023 and beyond," said Toyoda. "We truly believe in the richness and depth of Japan as a destination and look forward to sharing even more of its dynamic character with Canadians in the months to come."
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